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10th July 2013

Acorn Brewery celebrates 10 years of success

South Yorkshire’s much acclaimed Acorn Brewery is toasting the future as it celebrates 10 years of brewing success with the unveiling of new style brews and investment plans.

The Wombwell brewery marked the milestone birthday on Thursday July 4 at its award winning Barnsley cask ale pub – the Old No7 in Market Hill.

Local MPs and ‘Beer Writer of the Year’ Pete Brown were among special guests sampling the roll out of the Perfect 10 anniversary ale along with the famous Gorlovka Imperial Stout in a new craft keg version and as a limited edition oak-bourbon-barrel aged beer.

In keeping with the birthday date – also American Independence Day – the premium strength Perfect 10 (5.5%abv) is brewed as a celebration ale in the style of strong American Pale Ale, a rich golden beer with aromatic US hops.

In the past three months Acorn sales have spiked by some 16 per cent over the same period in 2012 and the brewer is now set to invest some £70,000 in commissioning state-of-the-art cask- washing equipment, extra conditioning tanks and a keg filler.

Since former chef Dave Hughes and his wife Judi founded Acorn in 2003, with just one employee, the company has grown to a 20 barrel-brew-length plant with a £1.4m-a-year turnover and a 12-strong workforce. It now produces more than 28,000 pints a week following a major investment in 2012 to expand capacity for both cask and bottled sales.

Over the ten years Acorn has won more than 50 awards – including its famous Barnsley Bitter claiming silver in its class at the Great British Beer Festival Champion Beer of Britain contest. The launch of the innovative new beers highlights the brewers’ determination to invest and grow further for the future.

Managing director and head brewer Dave Hughes said: “It is wonderful to be where we are today, ten years on from start up on a 10-barrel plant. We have recently recruited extra staff and are investing in new plant and equipment to supply keg beers. The independent brewing sector has changed dramatically over ten years. To secure the future, we must look ahead and adapt

“While demand for beer with provenance continues to grow, the market has become much more challenging. That demand now needs to be met not simply with traditional cask-conditioned ale but also modern craft beers dispensed from the keg for discerning customers in bars and restaurants where cask ale is not always suitable. Nevertheless, Acorn will remain firmly committed to brewing the very best quality cask-conditioned ale for our traditional market.” 

Speaking of the 10th anniversary celebrations Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, said: ““Acorn Brewery are a fantastic example of Barnsley’s finest local brews and a small example of the great produce made in Barnsley. It is fantastic to see this local brewery from Barnsley celebrate 10 great years and grow from strength to strength.” Ends /Ref Acorn PR 10th anniversary

Notes to editor:

Group photo L-R: Acorn’s Dave Hughes, Barnsley born beer writer Pete Brown and brewery manager David Broadhead.

Perfect 10 has ‘a sweet biscuit malt background with a massive kick of American hop aroma and taste-lemon and tropical fruits’.

In 2012 Acorn sales grew by some 13 per cent and the brewery now directly supplies more than 400 pubs in the North and Midlands and delivers regularly to London, while business grows with independent chain pub J D Wetherspoon and leading pub companies. This success reflects the burgeoning market for craft cask-conditioned ale (see Cask Report ) as discerning beer drinkers snub global brands. Bottled beers are now listed with major retailers, including Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Yorkshire’s Rhythm & Booze chain.

In key strategic move, in 2011 founders Dave and Judi Hughes made a major investment to reopen the historic Old No 7 pub in Barnsley as the ‘brewery tap’, creating six jobs.

Barnsley Bitter is brewed with the same yeast strain as the original 19th century Barnsley Brewery. This yeast is now integral to the distinctive Yorkshire character of all brands, including Barnsley Gold, Old Moor Porter,Gorlovka Imperial Stout, Blonde and newcomer Yorkshire Pride

In 2012 Yorkshire Pride (3.7%abv) was added as a core brew to meet growing demand for pale, well hopped beers, while a seventh ‘single hop’ range of IPA (India Pale Ale) specials using  European hops was rolled out  for 2013. The IPAs have bolstered sales each month since 2007.

Last year also saw a further £60,000 investment in new conditioning tanks, stainless steel casks and cooling equipment to boost capacity for the 20 barrel-brew-length plant to 150 brewer’s barrels-a- week (a brewer’s barrel is 288 pints).

For further media information or to arrange interviews/photographs contact: Steve Hobman, Rhino Public Relations: 07751 578605.